It’s that time of year again where we are working around the clock to make sure our upcoming residents and transfers new homes are ready to go for their big day! If only our residents knew what our teams go through in a short 15 day period to turn their units from looking like a frat house, to a never lived in apartment….but they don’t, so keep this in mind when move-in day rolls around. Your new residents are very unaware of all the hard work it took and the lack of sleep you have experienced, but try looking at things from their perspective.
How would you like it if you were a student who looked forward to this day and you get to the community and someone hands you a key packet with a number on it, a folder with some FAQ’s and sent you on your way with no smile and nothing to make your experience special? You are basically letting all the hard work you did from leasing through the year to turning units go down the drain if you don’t deliver a positive experience on move-in day.
**First Impressions Matter People!
So how do we achieve a memorable move in experience that our residents will share with their friends? The easiest way to do this is to offer something exciting the day of that gets people talking and more importantly “posting.” If we can capture our residents on social platforms the day they move in then we won’t have to work as hard during the year to build our audience, which will help make our marketing and retention efforts much easier.
Move in day should be looked at as a fresh start, not a daunting task that you dread year after year. I’ve rounded up some easy ways to provide an experience that will get your new residents following and posting their move-in day experience on social media.
Rent A Photo Booth
This is a great way to get people excited to pick up their keys! Contact a local company and have them set up in your move in center for the day. While people are standing around waiting they can play around in the photo booth with their new roommates or maybe even their parents? Make sure to get one that requires little staff involvement and one that also allows the photo’s to be shared digitally to social media outlets. Come up with a creative hashtag and encourage residents to tag your community in these photos. These booths can range anywhere from $350-$800 in most markets. (Call and schedule them, before your comps do!)
Fun Food Display
Having something “instaworthy” on the day of your move in will definitely get your new residents buzzing about your community. Think of something unique that pertains to your community, market, university, or state and go with it! People love food, so think outside of the box (literally, do not lay out pizza boxes, this isn’t memorable) GET CREATIVE!
(These cookies can be customized with your logo and ordered on etsy. Make sure to place your orders to get these in time for move-in day!)
(Have a creative team member or maintenance lead? Buy a peg board and create a custom designed donut wall!)
Ice Cream Or Popscicle Delivery
Continue the customer service experience after you’ve handed out keys by offering your new residents a tasty treat or drink while they are moving in. Typically August is a hot month and moving can be stressful so try to make this experience more enjoyable by assigning a few of your team members (temp help or hire a company) to go around and deliver popsicles, ice cream, or smoothies while people are moving in. This is just another level of customer service that’s cheap and easy to do. Your new residents and their parents are more likely to remember the amazing move in experience that you created which makes them less likely to find things to complain about within their unit. (Everyone Wins!)
Always remember to keep first impressions in mind when you are prepping for move-in day! If you create a memorable move in experience, you are setting yourself up for a successful year!
Feel free to reach out to your PSM’s or GMM to brainstorm ways to make sure you are prepared to make your move-in day unforgettable!
Alright, everyone has moved in and most things are beginning to settle down. It’s now time to make a great first impression on all your new residents by putting on a day full of resident events soon after move-in. This is the perfect opportunity to bring your community together as a whole and get everyone out to meet their new neighbors.
One of our communities here in Denver recently did an all day festival with informational and fitness classes during the day leading up to a silent disco with food trucks and yard games at night. It was an excellent turnout and really brought the whole community together.
So how do you put on an all day festival and what are some ideas on activities to put on? See below!
Start off the day by giving your new residents some fun and healthy events. Utilize the gym or yoga room at your community to host this. Events could include;
Maybe a resident is an instructor who would be interested in hosting one of these classes, otherwise reach out to local instructors who can host these classes!
–Group Painting Class– It’s time to bring out the creativity in everyone. Utilize a community room, clubhouse, or study room to host this event. Hire a local artist to host a painting class. Provide canvases, paint supplies, and wine/snacks for the 21+ crowd. The artist can take residents, step-by-step, through the process of creating an amazing work of art, perfect for some new decor in their apartment!
–Cooking Class– Maybe this is some of your residents first apartment. And most college students probably only know how to make some Ramen and pizza rolls. So why not bring in professional chef to teach a cooking class. They’ll share some great and simple recipes and some kitchen basics. You’ve got a recipe for resident event success!
The night events are going to be the biggest and where you’re really going to want to put in the most time/money. Pick a couple activities to host during the night. Ideas for the night could include;
–Food Truck Extravaganza– Food trucks are an awesome way for your community to throw a party without stressing about catering. It’s also a great way to introduce new residents to the culture, sights, sounds, and tastes of their new home. Invite the best local food trucks to park in your community. You can provide residents with tickets to try a variety of different foods.
–DJ or Live Band– Rent big speakers, hire a local DJ, and throw the dance party of the year. From a conga line to breakdancing, let your residents lead the way!
–Yard Games– Have a variety of different lawn games set up for residents to play such as corn hole, bucket-ball, human sized foosball, soap hockey, and sand volleyball.
–Bonfire S’Mores Under the Stars– Have a fire-pit at your community? That’s going to be perfect for having s’mores around the fire!
–Movie on the Lawn– Rent an inflatable screen and project a popular movie on the lawn! Residents can bring blankets and relax getting to know each other.
Remember, you don’t have to put on all the events above. Just pick and few here and there that you think will fit your community festival the best! A little inspiration goes a long way so let’s kick off the year to a great start and set the bar high for resident retention at events!
Instagram highlights are an awesome tool that all communities need to be utilizing. As we know students are steadily heading home for the Summer but one thing that isn’t changing is the fact that they are always on their phones. Making sure our social media outlets are up to date and engaging is a great way to continue to connect with prospects and residents even when they aren’t in town. If you are an avid Instagram user then you are aware that Instagram Stories are one of the most popular social media tools right now, slowly edging out Snapchat.
People enjoy watching live short video content and this is a great way to reach people that wouldn’t typically see your posts. Instagram works on an algorithm that shows your content to those who are engaging in your feed. So your community may have 1000 followers, but only a small percentage (less than 100 people) will actually see what you are posting based on how many users are liking and commenting on your posts. This is where it’s important to keep your stories active to expand this reach. The perks in using stories is that they play continuously. While users may skip posted content in the feed, your content will absolutely pop up in their stories stream. They can click past it if they want, but since it’s taking up the full screen, they’ll at least get a quick glance before they click away.
Now let’s talk about Instagram Highlights and how this all ties together. Like snapchat your stories will delete after 24 hrs, but now with the Highlight tool you are able to save videos and categorize them for users to see anytime they want. We can tie this feature into our industry by posting and saving things like Specials, Tours of the Community, Resident Events, and Photos and Videos of our Amenities.
Decide on what you want to highlight for your community. After you have decided, you can put in an RFC for custom Instagram highlight icons based on your communities branding.
When your icons are ready email them to yourself and save them to your phone or ipads camera roll. (whatever device your community posts from)
In order to add covers to your Instagram Stories Highlights, you first have to post them as part of your Instagram Stories. Your new covers must be active in your Instagram Stories for a full 24 hours (you can’t post and delete them!) and then remain in your Instagram Stories Archive. See instructions below.
Next up, after you’ve added your cover into your Instagram Stories, select the ‘Highlights’ heart icon on the bottom right.
After clicking the highlight icon you will then be prompted to add a title (ex: Tour, Specials, Amenities, Events, etc)
Once these highlights are created start posting photos and videos of your community and add them to the specific highlight. Check out Coronado’s Tour icon where we filmed a leasing team member giving us a tour of the community. After filming then save each individual video to your highlights and point these out to prospects. This is a great tool they can take back to their parents and show them a look inside the community. Using an energetic leasing agent and adding some fun to these videos makes them much more engaging and creates a realness aspect that some professional community videos can lack.
If you guys have any questions about getting started or how this process works please reach out to your GMM (myself or Ryan) and we are happy to walk you through the process.
I can’t wait to see all of your highlights!
There’s no better way to celebrate America than with some red, white, and blue drinks! And as always, we’ve got you covered! From boozy to non-boozy, here are a few of the best drinks to enjoy at your 4th of July party!
Red, White, and Blue Vodka Lemonade Slushies
Your everyday slushie gets a patriotic makeover. Enjoy this refreshing drink at the pool. Get the recipe HERE.
Red, White and Blue Pina Colada
Beat the heat and let this 4th of July Piña Colada take you away to Mexico! Get the recipe HERE.
Captain America Mocktail
Be the superhero at your poolside party by creating these red, white, and blue swirly drinks! Get the recipe HERE.
Firecracker Jell-O Cups
Kick off your BBQ with JELL-O SHOTS! Red, white and blue Jell-O shots with a cherry on top. Tasty and festive all in one. Get the recipe HERE.
Frozen Triple Berry Smoothie
This good-looking fruit smoothie will keep your guests cool and satisfied out there in the summer heat. Get the recipe HERE.
Red, White and Blue(berry) Margaritas
These margaritas will sure get you in the 4th of July spirit! Get recipe HERE.
Some other fun activities to have at your community’s 4th of July party could include:
- Tie-Dye Shirts red, white, and blue
- Yard games set up such as corn-hole, bocce ball, water balloon toss, tug of war
- Hot dog eating contest
- Provide information for residents on the closets fire work shows in your city